Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the mesothelial cells and is caused by exposure to asbestos. This a natural mineral that was used for over a hundred years in industries like construction, shipbuilding and manufacturing given its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties. However, during the 20th century it was known that asbestos is also the reason for serious respiratory diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma. When in contact with other materials, asbestos releases fibers into the air that are inhaled or swollen and cannot be expelled by the human body.

The asbestos fibers become trapped and housed in the mesothelium, a membrane of mesothelial cells that cover the organs and keeps them moist. The fibers then start irritating the cells, causing the formation of tumors, but it can take 20 to 50 years until the first symptoms are experienced. There are fours different forms of mesothelioma, which are determined according to the original location of the tumors.

How Hernias Affect Patients with Mesothelioma

There are numerous symptoms associated with mesothelioma and each patient can experience different symptoms, depending as well on the type of the disease. Hernias are uncommon, but they can occur in patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma or testicular mesothelioma. Patients can present abdominal hernias as a result of other symptom. Loss of appetite is common and it can cause weight loss, abdominal distention or pelvic mass and abdominal hernias.

A hernia develops when an organ or fatty tissue are squeezed into an opening rounded by the muscle or tissue that keeps it in place. Due to the hernia, patients often have a lump, and experience pain or discomfort, weakness, pressure or a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, and a burning, gurgling or aching feeling. In addition, it can also occur that physicians initially diagnose hernias, when patients actually suffer from mesothelioma.

Management of Hernias by Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma is a rare disease for which there is currently no cure, and peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for only about 20% of the cases, while there are no more than 100 reported cases of testicular mesothelioma. Therefore, there is no standard treatment for hernias in the case of mesothelioma patients and it is similar to healthy patients. Defining a treatment plan takes into consideration not only the patient’s health and age, size of the hernia, and symptoms, but also the severity and stage of mesothelioma.

Dietary alterations, including avoiding heavy meals or not bending after meals, can reduce the symptoms, but it is often necessary medication. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications such as antacids, H-2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors that decrease stomach acid can ease the discomfort. In addition, there is the possibility of surgery, when the hernia is too big and causes pain. The surgery consists of sewing the hole in the abdominal wall with patches to repair the hernia. It can be done either during an open surgery or laparoscopically, which is the least invasive method.

Note: Mesothelioma Research News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.